More Limbaugh advertisers jump ship
March 5th, 2012
09:31 AM ET
11 years ago

More Limbaugh advertisers jump ship

(CNN) – Rush Limbaugh's apology for labeling a law student a "slut" and "prostitute" failed to stem an exodus of advertisers from his radio show, as another company said Monday it was withdrawing spots from the conservative program.

AOL, along with 11 other companies, announced plans to remove ads from "The Rush Limbaugh Show," which is the most listened to talk radio show in the United States.

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"At AOL one of our core values is that we act with integrity," the company wrote in a post on their corporate Facebook page. "We have monitored the unfolding events and have determined that Mr. Limbaugh's comments are not in line with our values. As a result we have made the decision to suspend advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Radio show."

Other sponsors dropping spots from Limbaugh's show include mattress companies like Sleep Number and The Sleep Train, and companies that assist small businesses like Citrix, LegalZoom and QuickenLoans.

One company, Carbonite, a data backup service, said feedback from customers led to the decision to remove advertising from Limbaugh's show. The company's CEO said Limbaugh's apology Saturday wasn't enough to put his company's ads back on the air.

"No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady," Carbonite CEO David Friend said. "Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse."

On Monday, KPUA, a radio station in Hilo, Hawaii announced it would no longer carry the radio program, effective immediately.

"We are strong believers in the first amendment and have recognized Mr. Limbaugh's right to express opinions that often times differ from our own, but it has never been our goal to allow our station to be used for personal attacks and intolerance. The most recent incident has crossed a line of decency and a standard that we expect of programming on KPUA," Chris Leonard, President and General Manager of New West Broadcasting said in a statement.

"Regardless of one's political views on the issue being discussed, we feel the delivery was degrading and the continued comments over several days to be egregious," Leonard continued.

In Limbaugh's apology Saturday, he admitted his "choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir."

He added, "I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices."

Appearing on the ABC program "The View" Monday, Fluke said Limbaugh's apology was issued under pressure from advertisers.

"I don't think that a statement like this, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything," Fluke said. "And especially when that statement is issued when he's under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support from the show."

It was not clear Monday whether other companies who suspended their advertising before Limbaugh's apology would reinstate their support following the host's apology. Calls to Sleep Number, The Sleep Train and Legal Zoom were not immediately returned.

ProFlowers, an online flower delivery service, said in a Facebook posting Sunday Limbaugh's comments were at odds with their corporate image.

"At ProFlowers, our mission is to delight our customers with fresh and long lasting flowers, and that is our singular focus each and every day," the statement read.

It continued, "Mr. Limbaugh's recent comments went beyond political discourse to a personal attack and do not reflect our values as a company. As such, ProFlowers has suspended advertising on The Rush Limbaugh radio program."

On Monday, Pentagon press secretary George Little said the Defense Department had no plans to stop broadcasting Rush Limbaugh's show to service members on the American Forces Network. Limbaugh's show is part of the Defense Department's policy to broadcast shows that "reflect a wide range" of opinion, Little said.

Little said he had "not heard" of any review of whether Limbaugh's show remains suitable for broadcast after the controversy surrounding Limbaugh. Little also said he could not immediately say what the standards are for whether certain broadcasts are considered suitable by the Defense Department., a veterans advocacy organization, released a statement from female service members calling on Defense Department to stop airing "The Rush Limbaugh Show" on the American Forces Network.

"Rush Limbaugh has a freedom of speech and can say what he wants, but in light of his horribly misogynistic comments, American Forces Radio should no longer give him a platform," the statement said. "Our entire military depends on troops respecting each other – women and men. There simply can be no place on military airwaves for sentiments that would undermine that respect."

On his radio show Monday, Limbaugh addressed the advertisers who dropped their spots from his program, telling his audience, "I'm sorry to see them go. They have profited handsomely from you. These advertisers who have split the scene have done very well from their access to you, my audience on this program."

He added, "That's a business decision and it's theirs alone to make. They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore."

Outcry over Limbaugh's comments began last week after he criticized Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown Law, for advocating broad health care coverage for contraception at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

Limbaugh made the original comments Wednesday, in which he also suggested Fluke wanted taxpayers to pay for her to have sex.

"What does it say about the college co-ed [Sandra] Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says she must be paid to have sex?" Limbaugh asked. "What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex."

Top Republicans and Democrats denounced the talk show host, and President Barack Obama called Fluke Friday to offer his support.

CNN's Kevin Liptak and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (278 Responses)
  1. conoclast

    He'll never be taken off the air; his opinions are regarded as solemn truth by too many shut-tight radical-right "minds".

    March 5, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. tensor

    Perhaps Limbaugh and his medieval misogynist GOP are beginning to realize females aren't just half the population and deserve the same respect/dignity that men demand, but over the past 50 years have become the majority of the educated corporate hierarchy. Once again, the fossils thought the memo about not being a dipwad was meant for everyone else.

    March 5, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. Conrad Shull

    Is it true she said "protection" cost her and other students like her $3000 for three years? Can't find anything about what she said, and he might have been responding to, on CNN.

    March 5, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. SickOfIt

    @ Michael Wallen.....It appears you should have used the word "I" instead of "we'd". It appears you are a minority regarding your opinion.

    March 5, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  5. Independent Thinker

    In response to "John" (an appropriate name considering this is about calling someone none of us know a prostitute), considering that Limbaugh has his insurance pay for his Viagra ($1850 annually) and his past addiction to pills is enough to disqualify him from saying anything about cost of insurance or morality. I for one am supportive of any woman not wanting an unplanned pregnancy and wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle which includes regular sex.

    March 5, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. Margaret Weber

    Shame on these companies for falling for Obama's trick to divert attention from his failed policies. This contraception story is phony and contrived. All of these advertisers owe their success to the Rush Limbaugh show. Rush's million's of listeners will boycott their products.

    March 5, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  7. LMD

    Its ironic that a few yrs agho,Don Imus made some sexually charged remarks about a basket ball team,and the outcry was so loud that he was eventually let go. Now,Rush's words were much more hateful,much more derogatory,and yet Clear Channel Broadcast says they will stand behind what he says. Kind of makes you wonder just how low we have sunk,when this piece of garbage is allowed to stay on the air,or better yet,just who is Clear Channel and why would they support this man.

    March 5, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  8. holy cow batman

    Sponsors should pull completely out of supporting Rush Limbaugh. Anyone who supports this type of retorick is going to loose. How many more people are you going to allow him to hurt before he's pulled off the air. He only apologized because the supporters were bailing ship. If supporters hadn't began bailing ship, he wouldn't of apologized. Stop purchasing the products of the supporters who are responsible for keeping this man on the air.

    March 5, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. Daggie

    What's more scary to me than Rush Limbaugh are the droves of mindless morons who listen to him. I'm glad the sponsors have stopped supporting his drivel, but we still have the ignorant masses of people(?) who will listen to him.

    March 5, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. mark99er

    The thing thats got me, is why hasn't there been one major rebuttal by a republican politician, except Senator Snowe?

    March 5, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. OregonTom

    I wonder what Rush Limbaugh's wife and mother think about all this

    March 5, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Amanda

    Didn't he also say that he wanted to have the sex videotaped so that if we the taxpayers are paying for this courageous young woman to have sex, then we should be able to watch it, too. Love how he attacks the woman but NEVER the men! Who would she be having sex with?? Why cruicfy the woman just because she is trying to be responsible? Where are the MEN? Don't health care companies pay for prescriptions of Viagra and such? Why isn't Rush calling them sluts?
    Good to know that this country is going backwards in terms of women's rights. Will Rush be spewing about taking away women's right to vote next?

    March 5, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Nick

    "He added, "I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.""

    The interesting part here, he shrugs off the actual insult by calling it an insulting word choice, not apologizing for insulting her personal character.

    GG limbaugh.

    March 5, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Paula Joyner-Clinard

    Regarding the post from John. Apparently, people really don't understand birth control. You use it once a day, not every time you have sex, ( Rush Limbaugh). It is also a valuable medicine for women with health issues. Make sure you are informed before posting a comment that is ignorant.

    March 5, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. Gloria

    I hope this piece of trash loses all his sponsors and is taken off the air once and for all!!

    March 5, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. mjmullinii

    Perhaps now the right-wing will finally understand the difference between FREE speech and PAID speech.

    Free-speech is as American as Apple Pie. Paid-speech is at the 100% whim of those paying for it.

    March 5, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. Not All Docs Play Golf

    I find it weird that right wingers like to call President Obama 'the great divider in chief" when I've never heard a divisive word uttered by him. On the other hand, you have a whole industry of right wing hate speech being rewarded with attention and wealth, so that even their candidates for office engage in it. Talk about divisive!

    March 5, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. Ann T.

    How is insurance covering contraceptives any different than covering erectile dysfunction drugs? Why doesn't Rush have a problem with that?

    March 5, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  19. hypatia

    If that is what he considers 'humourous', he deserves to lose all his sponsors and get kicked off the air.

    March 5, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. Eagle Eye

    Rush Limbaug has the habbit to leap before he looks, This time it's going to cost him big time. When sponsors leave that means the end is near. I have listen to Rush at times I don't always agree with him but to call a college student a name that he has never met is out of line. Rush believes that his word are gospel and no one should question him. I'll say this the end is near and it's coming soon. Hey Rush the 250 million dollar salary is going to dry up real soon.

    March 5, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. Pop goes the (next) weasel

    About time. We have seen a lot of hotheads depart from the political scene and the media markets.
    It kinda started with Palin, O'Donnell, Trump, Cain, Perry.
    Good, let's keep adding to the list that Rush is surely heading (whatever he said has nothing to do with political disagreement anymore. He just showed how rabidly hateful he is. Let's make him pay).

    Let us show politicans and candidates that we want them to debate ISSUES (economy,deficit, jobs, security, health coverage, etc). NOT hateful extremist ideologies. Let's keep the discourse ON course. No bad language, keep religion in churches, your families and your personal lives, but not in politics. Let's debate political issues, hotly if we must, but with dignity and some manners. The world is watching us. Let's give them a good example of democratic action.

    March 5, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. Nick

    This is who is defending the Catholic Church's religious freedom... this is who is in their corner.. guys like rush who are first to judge and throw stones. He certainly doesn't speak for all Republicans, but certainly does for a segment of the far right who are cheering for him. How does this "entertainment show" help us as a country when it is unfortunately not just entertainment, but a mouthpiece for the Republican party. No respect.

    March 5, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  23. t

    To all those who cry foul at the thought of political correctness, take a look at the vile arrogance of a person willing to say anything derogatory in order to rile up his followers. I find it more offensive that Republican politicians bend to to the will of Limbaugh. If Limbaugh isn't speaking for the Repblican politicians, why do they seem to apoligize or back pedal if they dare contradict him? We should say enough to all these idiots, regardless of whether they are frim the
    'left or the right"

    March 5, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. Anonymous010

    He wasn't attempting to be funny at all. He was serious about everything he said in that original quote and that's what's truly sad. What's worse is that his is the most listened to show on radio. I can't begin to fathom how messed up a person's mind must be before they think Rush has a balanced or appropriate world view.

    March 5, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. W.G.

    This is great . Finally advertizers are waking upo to the fact that this boob is bad for business .
    I hope Women from all corners of society come together to get this bully off the air for good .

    March 5, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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